10 Stress-Free Tips for Moving With Kids (+ Checklist)

Moving with kids can be simple if you plan ahead. Here are key moving tips for families!

Updated January 4, 2023
Woman holding a box

Change can be exciting, but the actual process of moving can be a bit of a juggling act. Add kids into the picture and it can turn into a three-ring circus. There's so much that's out of your control during this big life event that it can be stressful on anyone, especially the younger members of the household. If you are moving with kids, though, there are lots of ways to make it easier for the whole family. Parents can implement some of these tips to make the transition a lot smoother - and even a little fun - for everyone involved.

Tips to Make Moving With Kids Easier

When it comes to moving, everyone knows they need boxes and bubble wrap! But it's also important to make this experience as stress-free as possible for both your kids and yourself. No matter if you are moving across town or across the country, these simple moving tips can make your big day a lot easier while simultaneously diminishing your kid's anxiety over this big life change.

Make a Moving Checklist

You are literally uprooting your entire life. There are a lot of moving parts, making it very easy to forget certain things. The best way to guarantee that everything gets done is to create a moving checklist. Unlike your daily to-dos, start planning your move weeks in advance. If you don't know where to start, we've created a free moving checklist to help make your transition easier. Just click the image below to access the document. It will open as a PDF file you can save to your computer and print for use whenever you are ready to get started preparing for moving day. You can even customize it with tasks specific to your family!

Pack With a Purpose

If the moving truck fell off a cliff, what items could you and your kids not live without? When packing, designate "priority boxes" to hold your most valued belongings. These should stay in your possession at all times. What that means is that if you have to stop at a hotel for the night, bring these boxes inside. This helps your kids know that their most cherished possessions are safe and sound.

Hire a Sitter

Lighten your load and hire some help for the periods that you plan to load and unload the truck. This ensures that your baby gets undivided attention and you can focus on the task at hand. Better yet, it gives you the peace of mind that your crafty little toddler does not disappear out the door.

For those folks moving locally, consider having the sitter watch your kids at your new home. This can allow them to fully explore their new digs and stay out of the way while you are getting everything loaded up. You can also make this a day of fun for them. Have the sitter take them to one of their favorite locations, like the aquarium or the zoo. Then, when they get home, they will be happy and tired!

Schedule Your Internet and TV Install Strategically

When moving with young kids, distraction is imperative. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to schedule your television and internet install for the morning of the move. You can have your spouse, another family member, or even your babysitter be in charge of waiting for the technician. Once it's set up, you can park your kids in front of the tube to keep them busy (at least for a while)!

Use Movers or Have a Plan of Attack for Packing

For those who can afford it, movers can make the transition to your new home a magical experience! In fact, a survey conducted by North American Van Lines found that a whopping 94% of people who hired movers stated it "was worth every penny." The trick is finding a reputable company, which means doing a bit of research before booking. If you are making a cross-country move, it is ideal to find a business that offers customers the option to pay an extra fee to guarantee their stuff arrives in a shorter time frame.

Movers carrying cardboard box into new house

If it's not in your budget to hire outside help with moving, try to be as organized as possible when it comes to packing. Create a plan of attack that works for your family, such as packing and numbering items according to how often you use them. For example, keepsakes or occasionally used items might be a "3," items that are important to your family but that you could do without for a while are a "2," and items you use every day are a "1."

There are lots of other ways to organize your packing too; packing by room, keeping lists of what's in numbered or specially labeled boxes, and color coding are also options. You can even have your kids help color code the boxes - this can make unloading a breeze! No matter what packing method you choose, though, just make sure it works for your family and it's is clear to everyone.

Load Up Your Kids Room Last

Another easy way to help make this transition smoother is to get your kid's belongings back to them as soon as possible. If you load your kid's stuff onto the truck last, they will be the first things that you unload. This can give your kids the entire day to set up their new room, which helps make this change a little less drastic.

Prepare for Your First Night

As ambitious as you may be, moving day will fly by and there will be certain essentials that you won't want to be digging for at midnight. These include bedding for each room, shower curtains and bath supplies, silverware and cups, and any baby essentials like diapers, wipes, bottles, formula, and pacifiers. Pack these items in a suitcase and load them into the car, not on the truck. That way, you have exactly what you need when you finally give up for the night.

Keep Sleeping Surfaces Handy

Anyone with young kids knows the importance of a schedule. In order to keep this up on moving day, have your playpen or an air mattress, blanket, and pillow handy. Don't forget your electric pump if you have one! When you get to the new house, designate a room for naptime and move stuff into it after this time period has passed.

Have Your Kids "Help" Unpack

There is nothing better than bubble wrap and boxes! And let's be honest, at some point you do need to break down those items, so why not let your kids assist with this task? Once the truck in unloaded, designate a room for these packing materials and let your kids get to work! They can build castles and tunnels or just pop those packing bubbles to their heart's content. Either way, they will have fun and you won't have to worry about trash duty.

Happy father with two sons hanging pictures on wall while moving in to new home

Let Your Kids Make Some Decisions

Your kids likely feel as if they have no control over this scenario. This can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. Give them a little power. For example, let them decide where things go in their room and the playroom. Ask their opinion about where decorations should go or what paint colors they think are best. Find ways to include them throughout the moving process.

Pick Out Your Dinner Location Prior to Moving Day

No one wants to cook after a long day of moving, and when people are tired, deciding can become difficult. The day before your move, determine if you want to go to a restaurant or have food delivered. Then, pick a place and what everyone wants to order. This will make mealtime easy and potentially prevent a meltdown.

How to Get Your Kids Excited About The Move

One of the biggest hurdles that parents face when moving is that their kids are not excited about this new chapter. Here are some ways to get them eager for their new adventure!

Have a Garage Sale

A positive aspect of moving is being forced to go through all of your junk. Talk to your kids purging what they don't need. Have them go through clothes, toys, and outside items and decide if they are 'keep' or 'trash.' Then, hold a garage sale!

For those thinking that their kids will never be on board with this plan, there' s an easy way to change their sentiments. The funds earned from their items can go towards something fun for their new room! This can also make for an exciting activity after they have unpacked their room, so wait to open the item on moving day.

Scope Out Your New Neighborhood

Once you have your house picked out, get your kids excited about the move. Take a tour of the neighborhood and scope out fun places that are nearby! You want them to see this transition as a good thing, so try to highlight the positives.

Host a Housewarming Party

Since it's likely that your child will not be attending the same school, they may feel as if they are losing their friend group. For the families who are moving across town, once you get all settled in, have a housewarming party! However, the guest list should be comprised of your kid's friends. Have them help plan the event before to the move and then have their best friends over to see their new digs!

Mother and daughter at housewarming party

If you are moving farther away, consider having a virtual event where your child's friends can see the new house and their room over Zoom. This can help kids feel connected to their friends and help them cope with the transition.

Other Tips for a Seamless Move With Kids

There are so many unknowns that can happen on moving day. Here are some simple ways to keep things calm and streamlined.

  • Check the forecast. If you know that inclement weather is expected, then you can better prepare for the day.
  • Take pictures of the wiring of your electronics. This will help you reconfigure items quickly.
  • Pack an emergency kit. Kids get hurt easily, and illnesses seem to arise at the worst possible times. Have bandaids, alcohol wipes, and a thermometer at the ready as well as medications like Tylenol and Imodium.
  • Don't let hangry kids throw off your moving grove! Have protein packed snacks and water readily available.
  • Find a place for your furry friends to stay if you are moving locally. Once you're settled, you can bring them home. This removes the worry of them getting into things.

Be Prepared and Organized When Moving With Kids

Moving with kids doesn't have to be stressful. By taking the time to prepare for problems and having a plan in place before moving day, you can make a simple transition to your new abode. Don't forget to print out your moving checklist as well. This is a simple tool that will help you stay on top of important tasks before, during, and after the big day!

10 Stress-Free Tips for Moving With Kids (+ Checklist)